Human Rights School
The Human Rights School (HRS) is a longterm-running project for law students, organized since 1999. The School aims to generate students´ interest in the protection of human rights and matters of the public interest by legal means.
Particularly, the School goals are to:
- support the interest of students in legal areas marginalized at Czech Law schools
- contribute to increasing the number of lawyers that are active in human rights and matters of the public interest in the Czech Republic
- contribute to a more progressive approach of the students, in their future legal careers, to legal issues than the current majority of lawyers
- present activities of NGOs, which try to help in the areas of human rights and matters of the public interest
- present the students with other (interactive) methods of teaching, than they encounter during the university studies
The HRS core activoty is a week long intensive interactive training for 20-25 participants from all Faculties of Law in the Czech Republic. During this course, students work in teaching blocks supervised by lawyers-lecturers, using interactive methods of teaching. Students experience, for example, group work, simulation of administrative and court procedures in the role of judge, defendant, investor or official (role playing), do case studies using real cases, excercise argument and rhetorical ability, and others. Experienced lawyers of well established NGOs contribute to the School as lecturers, guests and supervisors. Also attorneys, judges and aother legal professional contribute to the program intensively.
The Human Rights School has already 12 years of existence. During these years there have been over 250 graduates of this specific legal training. The lecturers recruited for example from the Environmental Law Service, the League of Human Rights, Iuridicum Remedium, Persefona, Hnutí Duha, MDAC, Transparency International, Fokus Praha, InIustitia, and others. Evening debates with guests from diverse areas of law profession are the regular part of HRS programme.
Students had the opportuinity to meet more than 25 guests, for example, Pavel Rychetský (the head of the Constitutional Court), Otakar Motejl (former Ombudsman), Josef Baxa (the Head of Supreme Administrative Court), Vojtěch Šimíček (the judge of Supreme Administrative Court), Jaromír Jirsa (the ex-president of the Czech Union of Judges), Ján Hrubala (the judge of Special Court in Slovakia), Jiří Tutter (the director of the Greenpeace in CR), Kumar Vishwanathan (from NGO Vzájemné soužití/Mutual coexistence), Mojmír Vlašín (Ekologický institut Veronica/the Veronica Environmental Institute), Eva Kováčechová (Via Iuris Slovakia), Tomáš Němeček (chief editor of law suplement of Lidové noviny) and representatives of other NGOs and local movement activists.
A two days continuation course of the Human Rights School typically follows several months after the main event. During the continuation session students themselves prepare one teaching block applying interactive methods they became acquinted with at the main training course. The other parts of the programme are to large extend defined by students´ interest- we try to organize specific topics and guests upon students´ wishes. This way, students actively participate in the RHS organization themselves.
All HRS participants have to work 70 hours in NGO as volunteers within one year after the training course. PILA helps to find suitable NGO for HRS participants only in exceptional cases. Pro-active attitude is a natural part of our training. The experience of working in NGO and the „touch“ of reality, opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge in real cases and to participate already during the studies at legal profession, is highly evaluated by our students, and is considered a great contribution of the HRS to their professional training.
For progress and improvement of HRS we require the feedback from the participants who actively respond in our evaluation questionnaires.